This is how to vote in the local elections if you happen to live in Kapiti. It’s a joint post between my two blogs, Wellington Regional Cycleways and Clean Air Society of Kapiti Coast. Kapiti, as you may know, has had a divisive debate about rerouting the SH1 motorway through the district. I sent a set of questions to all the candidates I could find an email address of on topics other than the motorway, and namely cycleway related questions and clean air questions. Personally I am sick of the debate on the motorway, so want to remind voters that there is more to life on the coast than the motorway.
Here are the questions I asked those candidates:
Questions for my cycleways blog:
- 1. Do you support the concept of signposting the National Cycleway through Kapiti from the Coast Road to the Waitohu Valley?
- 2. Do you have any ideas for a safe cycle route from Peka Peka to Te Horo/Te Horo Beach that isn’t along the highway?
- 3. Would you support the paving of the riverside paths on one or both sides of the Waikanae River to make them cycleways?
- 4. Would you support the paving of the riverside paths on one or both sides of the Otaki River to make them cycleways, and negotiating for cycleway access on the extant paths from Te Horo Beach through the Otaki Ferry reserve and surrounding private land to the southside tracks on the levee banks of the Otaki River?
- 5. Do you have any other ideas for promoting walking and cycling in Kapiti?
Questions for my Clean Air blog:
- 1. Do you support a complete ban or a phasing out of woodburners to remove the toxic pollution that they inevitably emit?
- 2. Do you support a ban on new installations of wood burners? (such as in Central Otago)
- 3. Do you support the right for a neighbour to veto smoke coming into their house and property? If so from what sources (domestic wood fires or outside burning)? If not, why not?
- 4. Do you support a ban, or tightening up on burning off throughout the district? A suggested tightening up would be a ban on all properties less than 2ha for instance.
- 5. The KCDC has a current rule of no rural fires within 40 metres of a property boundary. I have a burnoff fire 42 metres from my property boundary. The smoke of course doesn’t magically stop after 40 metres and I’ve copped the smoke. Will you support a minimum distance more in line with reality rather than in line with stupid? I have also copped smoke from fires 150 metres or more from my house.
- 6. What is your plan to clean up the air in Raumati and Raumati South?
I got quite a good response in terms of the number of candidates who took the time to answer, which is perhaps a good sign for the future. Some of their answers were lazy, obfuscated, non-committal or in politician-speak. That bodes less well for the future. One thing apart from getting run over by a truck or having polluted air to breathe that I can’t stand is bullshit. So I have rated the candidates on a few issues. Firstly just about every candidate says they’ll keep rates down, so I say so what to them. Next if they’re incumbent generally that’s not good. I thought the leadership through the freeway debate was needlessly divisive and lets face it, air quality reforms in Kapiti are very much overdue and nothing is being done. Plus I am quite convinced the Compliance and Monitoring team has let me down over the smoke problems I have experienced. This should have not happened on the current councils watch. Next I’ve never liked the Chamber of Commerce type of people and hence have a hard time recommending any One Kapiti member. I’m more a green kind of voter, but it has to be more than just a self asserted tag of greenness. It has to be in actions and not words. My bullshit detector goes off around a lot of folk claiming they’re green, when really they’re just clueless. Fluoride is a non-issue.
I didn’t get many of the answers I would have liked to the questions I asked. That’s fair enough as people are entitled to their own opinions other than mine, but it has to be a sensible opinion in its own right. I didn’t get many people thinking the river paths should be paved. A lot said it would distract from the current qualities. Mostly I’d say that they haven’t tried to ride the paths then. They can be rough as guts with large round stones and they can be muddy and puddle filled. I also think they can be paved for usefulness without distracting from their “naturalness”. It’s a case I’ll make at some other time. As for the question of signposting the route of the National Cycleway I can say it was near universally supported by all candidates. Not many had any idea on a safe cycle route from Peka Peka to Te Horo. I myself don’t have an answer for that.
As for the smoke questions I did get agreement for all questions from some candidates. I also got an acknowledgment that smoke can be a real problem and a real nuisance. Not many agreed with a complete ban on all burning off, which I am more and more convinced of due to the unpleasantness and toxicity of woodsmoke which has no place in our neighborhoods . The banning of burning off on sub 2 hectare lifestyle blocks was widely supported amongst candidates as previously noted here. Also lots of suggestions for ways to control woodsmoke were put forward, but they were all measures that have been tried and have failed elsewhere such as in Launceston, Tasmania or in Central Otago. I think all those failed measures just waste time and we should go to a full ban on woodburners as the only measure actually proven to work.
So with no further ado here are my personal recommendations for how to vote.
WELLINGTON REGIONAL COUNCIL (Kapiti Coast Constituency)
CHAPMAN, Ann and WILSON, Nigel
Vote for Nigel with a tick.
Nigel is supportive of further environmental monitoring (including of woodsmoke pollution) on the coast.
KAPITI COAST MAYOR
3 CHURCH, Ross
5 CLULEE, Mike
1 GLOVER, Chris
2 MITCHELL, David
6 ROWAN, Jenny
4 TURVER, Chris
Mr Glover is good on cycleways. I don’t think Ms Rowan should get another go after the farce of the motorway and trying to nick the Electra payments.
KAPITI COAST COUNCILLORS AT LARGE (Electing 5)
15 AMMUNDSEN, Diane
13 BOOTH, Roger
11 CARDIFF, Mike
14 CHURCH, Ross
1 DAVIS, Hone
8 DONALDSON, Helene
2 HOOKER, Glen
12 JACK, Tony
6 MCCLOY, Iride
10 MITCHELL, David
5 MOSELEN, Don
7 SCOTT, Michael
3 ZUUR, Doris
Hone seems to be among the better candidates, but even he doesn’t fully understand the poisonous nature of wood smoke and thinks its ok in the winter time, which means I’d never be able to live in one of the Kapiti suburbs ever again. So obviously these are the best of a bad bunch. Ms Ammundsen told me she doesn’t believe woodsmoke is toxic. Even though it’s a proven carcinogen and mutagen. I do get frustrated with elected officials who don’t have basic scientific knowledge.
KAPITI DISTICT COUNCIL OTAKI WARD – Electing 1
1 BAKER, Andre
2 GAYLOR, Penny
Mr Baker is best suited to represent all people from Otaki. Ms Gaylor answered all my cycleway questions and didn’t answer the air quality answers, which I thought was obfuscation.
KAPITI DISTRICT COUNCIL PARAPARAUMU WARD – Electing 2
I couldn’t get much out of all the candidates here apart from a fob off. I’m not voting in the ward and have no opinion of them, except for David Scott. Vote 1 for David SCOTT. He is the best candidate, by miles, in terms of support for air quality measures. Apart from Nigel Wilson, David is the only politician who will actually listen if you are having smoke problems. Hopefully the rest of council this time will make way for his ideas. There is a lot of dead wood in the current council and they just get in the way.
KAPITI DISTRICT COUNCIL PAEKAKARIKI-RAUMATI WARD – Electing 1
1 GLOVER, Chris
2 HOLBROW Janet
3 WOODING Hilary
KAPITI COAST DISTRICT COUNCIL PARAPARAUMU-RAUMATI COMMUNITY BOARD
If you live in Paraparaumu or Raumati please do not vote for Jonny Best. He does not care about the pollution he is causing his neighbours and even boasted to me of using a chiminea in the summer to give a “great atmosphere”. He is part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you do live in Raumati and are wondering why your air is too foul to breathe, Jonny Best is in part responsible.
The other community boards and health boards I am not making recommendations.
Thanks to all the candidates who answered my questions. Whatever the makeup of the new council hopefully we can see some real progress made with cycleways and in particular air quality in Kapiti. Something really needs to be done about the out of control wood smoke pollution experienced in both the suburban and the lifestyle block parts of Kapiti. It is a problem that needs to be taken seriously and urgently. So whoever wins you have some work to do.